5 votes

College Street Bridge


BH Photo #185392


Engineering News-record: 1903

DANVILLE ILL - W. H. Morris City Engineer writes us that bids are asked until Oct. 28 for constructing a steel bridge over the Vermilion river at College St. It is to be 920 ft. long the main span being 200 ft. long and the foundation of stone and concrete.

DANVILLE ILL - County Supervisors will give $5,000 toward construction of College St. bridge over Vermillion River. The bridge will cost $30,000.


Lost Deck truss bridge over Vermilion River on College Street in Danville
Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois
Built 1904, closed to traffic on August 20, 1947, demolished in 1958
- Lafayette Engineering Co. of Lafayette, Indiana
Main span: Pin-connected Baltimore deck truss
Approaches: Pin-connected Pratt deck truss
Length of largest span: 200.0 ft.
Total length: 920.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.11719, -87.62492   (decimal degrees)
40°07'02" N, 87°37'30" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/446747/4440950 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Danville SE
Inventory number
BH 45893 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 2, 2013: New photo from Jacob P. Bernard
  • April 20, 2013: New photos from Jacob P. Bernard
  • July 31, 2012: New photo from Mike Roegner
  • December 9, 2010: Updated by Mike Roegner: Corrected build date and builder per newspaper articles
  • August 14, 2010: Added by James Baughn based on info from Mike Roegner



College Street Bridge
Posted December 21, 2015, by Chas John (chasjohn2001 at yahoo dot com)

1940 photograph of the College Street bridge.

College Street Bridge
Posted July 7, 2012, by Fmiser (fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com)

Jacob: Maybe. But probably not. The photo you attached is a classic caisson, or lally column. Mike said he thought that is _not_ what they were. And he mentioned they were landmarks/obsticals for maritime travelers. The ones in your picture look like they wouldn't often be an obstical to a canoe.

College Street Bridge
Posted July 7, 2012, by Jacob P. Bernard (jacob_bernard [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Is this a photo of the round supports that Mike was talking about?

College Street Bridge
Posted October 6, 2010, by Mike Roegner (roegner [at] soltec [dot] net)

Here's a couple of photos of the deck of the bridge. One was taken in 1949 and the other in 1958, prior to demolition. On of it's least admired characteristics is that it was a very noisy bridge. The speed limit prior to the bridge being closed was 8 mph, but most traffic crossed it going 25-35 mph. Made for horse and carriage traffic, the planks commonly came loose. On a quiet night the sound of traffic crossing the bridge could be heard a long, long ways away.

The main reason the sidewalk slowly disappeared is that street urchins would pry up the planks and throw them into the river. We just can't have good things.

Webmaster's note: The photos that were here have been incorporated into the main site.

College Street Bridge
Posted August 16, 2010, by Mike Roegner (roegner [at] soltec [dot] net)

Just depends on if it was a newly built bridge, or a used one built years earlier. I was on the Rabbitown web page today (that's the part of Danville where the bridge was located) and they have a photo of the bridge and give a build date of 1903, just to throw some mud in the water. The microfilms for 1901-1902 are missing, so I can't really dispute any dates. I guess I'll make that my quest. It seems to have been a popular bridge - people have fond memories of it, they just get kind of fuzzy when pressed for specifics.

The National Register papers for the stone arch bridge on Main Street mentions the College Street bridge, mainly because John Beard was instrumental in getting the bridge, and he is attributed to building the stone arch bridge. If he had anything to do with the actual building of the College Street bridge, it probably would have been the abutments and pier footings. He was a stone mason, not an iron worker.

And here's a photo of the south abutment. There is also a couple of round supports for the bridge laying in the water. I don't think they're lally columns. On the Woolen Mill bridge, a similar bridge, when the supports had rusted badly, they were covered in concrete to extend their life. That's probably the case with theses supports - and is why the metal salvager left them behind. They're landmarks for canoeists going down the Vermilion River, or obstacles, depending on how you look at it.

Webmaster's note: The photos that were here have been incorporated into the main site.

College Street Bridge
Posted August 15, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Lafayette Bridge Company was absorbed into the American Bridge Company in 1900, so the 1902 date might be off.

This bridge may have also been a product of the Lafayette Engineering Company, that was founded in 1901 by former figures of LBCo. who were unhappy at the closing of the local plant.

College Street Bridge
Posted August 15, 2010, by Mike Roegner (roegner [at] soltec [dot] net)

Here's a couple of photos of the bridge. I don't know if they came through with my email or not.

When I first heard about this bridge, the story was that it was a used bridge from Lafayette, Indiana. The fact that it was from Lafayette Bridge Company may have contributed to that part, but later versions of the story say that Mayor Beard new of a bridge that was "available". That may mean that it was a canceled order. I can't verify that the bridge was actually used in Lafayette.

Webmaster's note: The photos that were here have been incorporated into the main site.